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Building a schedule for an accurate critical path analysis RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi 

    My organisation use the term critical path all of the time but very rarely have I worked anywhere where the schedule is detailed or accurate enough to facilitate this.

    From my experience, to obtain a proper critical path, every task within the schedule should have a successor or predecessor with the exception of the first and the last tasks.

    Am I too old school or can someone point me in the direction of how to achieve a schedule which will give me a meaningful CP.

    Regards

    S

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 8:06 AM

Answers

  • Well, I have many examples, and all my project plans start from the premise that the objective is to produce a network which will show a critical path as quickly as possible. I would say that surely this is the primary objective of sitting down in front of the computer to prepare the plan in the first place. Everything else is secondary.

    You want to find out, you must find out, based on the duration estimates and the predecessors/successors, how soon the project can finish, and how soon all of the tasks can start and finish. That's what the critical path method is for, and that's what MS Project is for.

    Basic requirements are:

    • a "closed" network. every task has at least one FS0 predecessor and at least one FS0 successsor (except for the first and last, of course)
    • No predecessors/successors links on the summaries
    • use the schedule table to see the early and late start and finish dates
    • tick the box on the format ribbon to light up the critical tasks.

    Hope this helps. If it does, please mark as answer.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 9:53 AM

All replies

  • Well, I have many examples, and all my project plans start from the premise that the objective is to produce a network which will show a critical path as quickly as possible. I would say that surely this is the primary objective of sitting down in front of the computer to prepare the plan in the first place. Everything else is secondary.

    You want to find out, you must find out, based on the duration estimates and the predecessors/successors, how soon the project can finish, and how soon all of the tasks can start and finish. That's what the critical path method is for, and that's what MS Project is for.

    Basic requirements are:

    • a "closed" network. every task has at least one FS0 predecessor and at least one FS0 successsor (except for the first and last, of course)
    • No predecessors/successors links on the summaries
    • use the schedule table to see the early and late start and finish dates
    • tick the box on the format ribbon to light up the critical tasks.

    Hope this helps. If it does, please mark as answer.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 9:53 AM
  • Hi Sean,

    You are correct in your assertion; the ability to build a defensible (hence accurate) schedule to the right level (detail) is mandatory.   Other items which will affect the CP are deadlines, constraints, task calendars. 

    Ultimately, you have to put the work in to get the value out.  


    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014 10:41 AM
    Moderator